Sunday, July 31, 2011

More light posting

Sorry for the lack of blogging. For the next few weekends there will be few opportunities for walking in the woods.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Gone Hikin' blog - Reconnoiter Rock - NY

by theseventhgeneration
Click here for a link to a hiking blog that has the best picture of Reconnoiter Rock I've ever seen. The photo is about half way down the blog. If you scroll down further, about 3/4ths of the way down, there is a photo of "An Eastern Garter Snake in a crevice at Reconnoiter Rock on the way back".

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

technical difficulties

I am having some issues with internet/browser/blogging capabilities. Posting this from a work computer.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Obscure Ceremonial Features in woods north of Thomas Landers Rd, Falmouth

Following a map of Mavor's looking for a feature with the word "chamber" penciled in. In Manitou they wrote that there were no chambers on the Cape - possibly because of the absence of bedrock. So I was curious. Here it is:I am guessing Mavor meant that this might have functioned as a chamber or as a place from which to view the sky.

Also nearby; here is a rock that was split sideways into a sandwich of three parallel slabs. The middle slab has been offset from the other parts:Rocks have been placed in the opening at the other end.
There is no doubt that these Falmouth woods are full of subtle ceremonial features. It is confusing since many of them seem modern. The "chamber" for example is in an area of much soil disturbance and a sense that there was a lot of boulder quarrying there.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Newly opened Cairns Trail in West Virginia

New trail winds through a W.Va. mystery

"The trail leads past dozens of cairns -- from loosely consolidated nondescript piles, to carefully stacked waist-high columns, to downright imposing walls. One of the most interesting features along the path isn't a cairn at all, but an odd sandstone boulder England calls the Standing Stone."

The full article, which includes pictures of the standing stone and a rock pile and runs to a second page, is at this link.

A Falmouth Kettle Hole and a Hypothesis about Marker Piles

A few years ago Mavor gave me copies of his topo maps for the Falmouth area - fragments of the larger map - and, over time, I have been able to match the features on his fragments to known landmarks on bigger maps, to see how to get to the places. Over time, I located most of his sites but there was one I could not figure out, showing four rock piles near the notation "chamber". Working harder at map matching before coming down to the Falmouth area this summer, I figured out where this spot was and realized it was a kettle hole site I knew about. But I never found four rock piles (I remembered two or three) and the notation "chamber" was intriguing since it was mentioned several times in Manitou that there were no stone chambers on the Cape. So I went to take another look at the site and, in the end, found 12 rock piles in the kettle hole as well as the "chamber" nearby.

A couple of personal comments. First, it is gratifying that both Mavor and I missed the majority of the rock piles. Another is that the four piles he found were in a line and evenly spaced in a pattern which, over and over again, appears in his writing as being part of a larger scale alignment of features and piles that can stretch a quarter of a mile or so across the landscape. In fact, following this line of piles across the highway, there is indeed another cluster of rock piles in another kettle hole. But I am pretty sure that is not it, at all.The picture shows the kettle hole: a bowl-like valley created (we are told) by uneven melting of glacial ice. At the top of the western slope were two prominent boulders, and on the eastern and northeastern slopes were twelve evenly spaced piles forming a typical example of what I call a "marker pile site", or a "grid" of piles. Four in a row (actually five) do point as Mavor indicated but there are several other lines and directions present and a different explanation is suggested.

Here is a view from the bottom of the hole up towards the boulders:
Note how flat the slope is.

And here is a view back down towards the piles from the top of the western slope:The piles would all be visible from here, if not for the foliage, and they are arranged in a way that covers the entire opposite slope.

It occurred to me that the boulders were part of the site, so I climbed up to them to look around and found a damaged rock pile and a rock-on-rock up there, somewhat confirming that this is part of the "site":Here are some of the rock piles, hidden in the blueberry bushes:
These are pretty big, somewhat rectangular, and thoroughly smeared out. Which says to me that they are pretty old. Let me put it this way: several pairs of well-trained eyes missed these completely. Here's what you get, a view of three rock piles in a line, but who would know:
A Hypothesis:
Standing at the bottom of the kettle hole, and looking up the slope towards the boulders, I could see that the slope was very even and flat (but not level) below the boulders and I could see that the setting sun would graze the slope evenly and, inevitably, would cause shadows of the boulders to project down the slope and over against the opposite sides. Inevitably those shadows would have to pass over the rock piles as the sun sets. Could it be that the rock piles are evenly spaced because a certain fixed number of days have elapsed since the shadow crossed one pile; and now the sunset shadow falls across a new pile? Could this be a simple calendar mechanism?
In this version of the sketch, looking southwest, the sun sets further to the right in summer time, and sets further to the left in winter. I invite the reader to think what happens to the channel of light between the two shadows as the winter solstice approaches.

Perhaps I can get out there more often. A little more time-lapsed observation would confirm this.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Nice cairn from northeastern CT

Sent by a reader.

Summer Vacation - no blogging planned

If anyone wants to fill in, please do. Otherwise, comments may be the only thing that moves in a quiet landscape.

Polka Dot Dragon or Beaver?

This used to be a "boulder field," rocky unplowed land, that was full of stones on boulders and I never had the chance to look at it closely. Then the bulldozer arrived (15 years ago?) and it now looks like this:
Somebody saw this as a dragon or something like that and painted it mostly green; I on the other hand see a beaver, perhaps on a boulder that represents a turtle, as in the local Creation Story I've heard...  

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Spring, a Little Rock Pile

Always worth a closer look, near the top of a gully:
Around the side of the hill, near its base, a couple of simple piles:looking back:and
This is in northern Fitchburg on the back side of where I saw the piles with hollows.

Stone ornaments of the American Indian

Norman forwarded the following:

Subject: Stone ornaments used by Indians in the United States and Canada : being a description of certain charm stones, gorgets, tubes, bird stones and problematical forms (1917)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lindsley Hollow - NY

by theseventhgeneration
Lindsley Hollow is where the runoff from Bear Cub Pond flows down along Route 206. There are rock piles going straight up the hill, in a row, visible from the road.Going uphill, they can still be seen in some spots, even among ferns that are between knee and waist high.Following the row of rock piles, this ominous pile of rocks appears where the row of smaller piles terminates.Here is a close up of the largest rock pile at the base of the large mound of rocks. Notice the stone row at the far upper right corner of the photo (behind the Striped Maple).Using the large Red Maple with the low Y joint (to the left of the stone row) as a reference point, here is a close up of part of the stone row.In the photo above, just behind the stone row, is a small quarry. My suspicion is that the ominous mound was created by the quarry. However, this has left me with more questions than answers. What were they quarrying? If they were quarrying stone for barn foundations, why did they leave so much rock behind? Why do the row piles lead up to the quarry?

There are other rock piles around, not in the row and seemingly separate from the quarry, although nearby.Then the large stone with the piece of feather-and-wedge-split-granite (from the Near Bear Cub Pond post) is just north and downhill from the quarry. The granite, not being indigenous to the area, would not have come from the quarry. Any ideas on what might have gone on here would be welcome.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Near Bear Cub Pond - NY

by theseventhgeneration
Just south of the pond there is a little site that is probably not very old. There are rock piles, a few short stretches of stone wall, lots of stone under foot, and a small quarry. This is one of the things I found at this site. First, a photo of the odd stone, with debris on top:
Second, with debris cleaned away and a half meter stick to show the size:Third and fourth, the whole picture:
It seems this could be entirely accidental. The split block appears to be granite. A geologist friend of mine said it could have been used for a headstone and this piece was discarded. Certainly, the tree seems to have pushed it up a bit, and those small stones under the boulder look like they might have just flaked off the lower edge of the boulder. So, what looks like ceremony, maybe in this case, is not.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Fallulah Brook: Topographical Setting of northern Fitchburg Mounds

Some of Fallulah Brook begins in northern Fitchburg in a swamp and breakout zone between hills, curving around and down into the valley that feeds the reservoirs and that powered mills like the Fallulah Paper Company. I wonder where the name comes from? Anyway, here is a little piece of the swamp, just to give you an idea.
I wrote a bit about this area in previous posts. By the way there are a few more large and small mounds down where West Ashby Rd Crosses the main brook

Some symbolic rocks near Mound C

There were a number of piles with quartz or other interesting rocks near these northern Fitchburg mounds. For example, on "Mound C":Is this hematite? I do not know that material.

Further away, this interesting one:
I never saw such a thin necked manitou stone. Also on "Mound "C, a little handful of quartz chunks (there were other chunks at the other end of the pile)On a separate pile (Mound C is in the background), was this pretty quartzite cobble: closer:Several smaller piles with notable quartz, dot the area:

More photos of "Mound "A"

Continuing an attempt to justify the sketches of mounds (here), here are more pictures of "Mound A" side-by-side with photos I sketched on.
Let's look at the "front". I think the side on the right, at least, is pretty straight. And you can see how I tried to see the shape here, in spite of the collapsed portion just left of center.
Here is a view of - let's call it- the "back".
Again the straight lines are suggested and, on this side, un-interrupted by collapse.
Again, I am not sure this is reasonable and critiques are welcome. I'll just dodge by saying it would be best to visit these mounds in person. Consider it an open invitation.

More photos of "Mound C"

Norman rightly challenges me to demonstrate more clearly that my sketches of the north Fitchburg mounds (see here) are faithful to the origin. The sketches are abstractions from the original, but let's see if there is more support.
I the case of "Mound C", here is a photo from one end, with the "two chambers" on the left. Below it I sketch what I take to be straight lines that are visible in the structure.Another closer view of the end of the pile, from higher up, so we can see the hollows more clearly:
In the lower half of the picture, I sketch over what look like straight lines in the structure. For instance the side of the nearer hollow looks straight enough to justify thinking rectangular holes in the pile.

Here is a video of the same mound, looking at the side with the collapsed "chambers" from the other end. Note what I call a "retaining wall, fallen out". It forms a straight line along the right side of the mound. That straight line would be on the left in the above photos.
Looking carefully at the pictures, there is other structure on this mound that I do not capture with the abstract mound sketches but is the simplification reasonable?

Is that reasonable or not?

Collapsed and Flat Topped Cairns

Norman Muller writes:

I am attaching a photo of a stone mound in the Finger Lakes region of NY that David Schewe showed me five or six years ago. It seems to have collapsed in a way similar to the mounds from Fitchburg that you describe. You'll notice that a portion of the mound remains fairly intact to give one an idea that the whole mound was once carefully built.

Your drawings also reminded me of the flat-topped cairn at the Oley Hills site, which fortunately has remained intact, although it is oval and not square.PWAX writes: I agree, that first example is exactly what I am talking about. The Oley Hills cairns are so unique, I have never seen anything like them.